Bangladesh so far

Arriving at Dhaka Airport after an 18 hour flight via Dubai my first objective was to get the essentials done.  Go to the cash point and draw out some  money for the taxi ride into town. Easy right? After two  stressful hours talking to my useless bank until my mobile ran out of juice, with no money forthcoming, cancelled card, yadda yadda yadda. I jump into a cab and make my way to my hotel, crossing fingers they would pay for me.

Asian taxi drivers! You have to love them. Every time you ask them ‘Do you know the direction to this hotel?’ They always say ‘Yes’ ( even though they haven’t got a clue).  So we spend one hour getting to the hotel, stopping every five minutes to ask for directions. 

My plans are to go and visit the Sundarban district and also go south to Chittagong and maybe the hill tract villagers on the Burmese border. The country however is in the middle of a political crisis. The opposition political party has called for a 3 day strike starting yesterday which severely restricts movement around the country. Which means I’m stuck in Dhaka for at least 3 days. 

My initial project of photographing the Rohingya people in Teknaf has fallen through due to some ridiculous amounts quoted for by local fixers. I still might try accessing this area If I can get down there. Photographing the Rohingya people is a sensitive subject here in Bangladesh. 

I have to say I’ve never been to a country where the people are so friendly. It gets to the point where it’s quite embarrassing when you have 6 people taking photos of you on their mobile phones, I guess they don’t see a white man walking around with a tripod dressed in Primani that often. What a superstar I am!

Dhaka is a city which is smelly, dirty, polluted, poor and chaotic but I have to say I love the people and the energy of the place. The traffic is the worst I’ve ever seen and I’ve even given up asking the Tuk Tuk drivers to slow down as all they do is smile and seem to go faster.

Hopefully the strikes will be over soon. If not I’m going to spend  the next 2 weeks wondering around Dhaka with a sunburnt head looking gormless.


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